Exotic Tone Woods For Guitars

We Have Spectacular Quality Inventory of Exotic Woods

Ten Piece Minimum. Please Don't Ask to Buy One Piece. Ed Roman Has the Largest Selection of Exotic Tone Woods In The World

Many exotic tone woods are subject to ultra small and microscopic cracks in the wood.
We cannot guarantee against this happening because we use so many varied species.
It is usually entirely unnecessary to repair anyway & almost invisible to the human eye.

This Guitar was Hand-Built in Ed Roman's Custom Shop, 2005


Quicksilver Custom Built For Mike Clifford In Las Vegas
Spectacular Quilted Maple Top


 

FLAMING COCOBOLO


Gary Jacobs Guitar, Flamed Maple Chevron, Las Vegas @ Ed Roman Guitars

Flame Top Avanti Guitar
CHEVRON PATTERN


 

Quilted Maple, Jaros Guitar   Jaros Guitar, Black Korina Body,
Blister Quilted Maple
Highly Figured Korina Back & Neck


Pearlcaster's & Magic Twanger's


A Word About Ed Roman's Wood Prices

If our wood prices seem high
there are some very important facts you need to know!!

Ed Roman's Prices Are Less Than Half Of What Alembic Charges !!!!
The Quality of Ed's Roman's Wood Is The Absolute Best Quality In The World!!!!
 What PRS Calls A 10 top Is Quite Nice, But It Does Not Compare To Ed Roman Medallion Grade !!!
No Expense Is Spared To Buy The Absolute Finest Tonewoods That Can Be Found Anywhere!!!!
No Other Guitar Manufacturer Anywhere In The World Offers As Many Different Wood Choices!!!


Custom Les Paul Guitar Like No One else has anywhere, Available @ Ed Roman Guitars in Beautiful Las Vegas.
Medallion Grade Quilted Maple

In the past 20 years I have sold beautiful tone woods to many guitar manufacturers when they wanted something extremely nice for a special customer. 

I specialize in many different rare specimens. The wood list above will give you an idea as to what I have in stock. I generally have a selection of almost everything on the list. 

I am always looking for new and strange examples of different species.

Recently I have been experimenting with Redwood & Giant Sequoia, I have found the wood both beautiful & extremely resonant sounding.

I generally hand-pick every single piece of wood that I buy. I select each piece for tone and beauty and I spare no expense to buy the absolute finest wood I can find.

I make several trips a year to the Pacific Northwest and  I actually visit the sawmills. Sometimes I only buy one or two pieces in a day, and as you can imagine this drives the price up. If you get to see the woods I have stockpiled in my wood room though, you will be knocked out!

Maple is a strong and extremely dense, heavy wood. It is excellent for guitar necks and bodies because it can handle an inordinate amount of string tension. Maple has a bright and crisp tone and is used on flamenco guitars as well as some electrics. It has a wide variety of exotic grains that show up quite well when finished. Flamed maple is a very popular and brilliant looking exotic type of maple. "Flamed" refers to the rippling, or curls of the grain of wood that run across the body. Flamed maple is generally "book matched," which means that the body is made of two half pieces of a single cut piece of maple. This gives the guitar even weight, look and tone throughout the body.

 

We would sell this stock for under 2,000 at any quality Gun Shop
Maybe I'm In The Wrong Business !!

 
 We No Longer Build Custom Gunstocks.


Gibson's Retopped in our shop
Left  5A Burley Maple  ---  Middle  4A Flamed Maple ---  Right 4A Quilt/Flame Maple


Assorted Blank Fingerboards

I have Solid Brazilian Rosewood Neck Blanks for $400.00 just like PRS used on their $9,000.00 Rosewood Ltd. Model   (I buy them from the same supplier that PRS buys from) I also have solid Ebony & African Rosewood necks available.


If you would like to make an appointment to get together
to pick out a special piece of wood for an electric guitar please call me.
Ed Roman      702-875-4552


Click Here for Worlds Best Guitars

Building A Better Guitar
By Ed Roman   

When I set out to build a better traditional type guitar,  I had several problems. These problems were John Suhr,  Tom Anderson,  Gerard Melancon, Don Grosh, Gary Levinson.

These people were already building guitars that were heads and tails better than anything any large corporation ever did.  I couldn't just build it a little better. I had to build it much better than the luthiers listed in the above paragraph.

I had to use better wood, better pickups, better hardware, I had to make tighter neck joints, get a higher reach, get even closer tolerances, offer more options and do better setups, and because I was the new kid on the block I had to do it for less money.

  Click Here For the Whole Article.

Wood is one of the largest determining factors of a guitar's sound and longevity. Specific woods used to build guitars, acoustic and electric, are called Tone woods. Tone woods have resonant properties that other woods do not. For example, oak is a beautiful and strong wood, but it has no resonant properties, which would not be best for guitar building.

 

 Pearlcaster Area In Our Shop

 



 Raw Chunk of Koa Wood


Standard Woods In Use By Most Companies

Mahogany
Mahogany is a moderately dense and very durable wood. It is commonly used for the backs, sides and necks of acoustic guitars. It is sometimes used on electric guitar bodies and necks. Because it is very sonorous and durable, mahogany is also used in banjos, resonators, ukuleles and acoustic guitar soundboards. It is lighter than maple and specifically provides acoustic guitars with great sustain. Mahogany also provides great weight balance between the neck and the body of an acoustic. It is reddish-brown in color and is incredibly strong and resonant, giving the guitar big, beautiful tones.

We don't use to much mahogany at Ed Roman's simply because we are known as an exotic builder. People generally expect something a little more exotic from us.

Koa Wood
Koa is a gorgeous wood with well defined curly and flamed grain patterns as found in instrument quality Maple. It falls in the middle of the tonal spectrum, giving the instrument a brightness of tone without sacrificing warmth. It is slightly less round in tone than the rosewoods. We have been building custom Koa guitars for close to 20 years.

Alder
We find that alder has the richest tone, characterized by lots of fat low-end, well defined mid ranges and a lot of sustain. Alder is a light wood, which makes it more comfortable for lengthy gigs. It is one of the original woods used for solid body guitars. Although other manufacturers use woods like poplar and basswood, they are considered alder substitutes. We don't use to much Alder at Ed Roman's simply because we are known as an exotic builder. People generally expect something a little more exotic from us  

Solid Alder
Solid Alder is a fairly light and incredibly resilient wood that is a favorite amongst electric guitar makers. It is a close-grained wood with a naturally light tan color. Alder is mostly used for electric guitar bodybuilding because of its full sound, great sustain and density. It is a porous wood that takes quite well to a variety of finishes. This gives the guitar a richer sound because the solid wood soundboard can vibrate more freely & thoroughly.

Spruce
Spruce is the most commonly used wood on acoustic guitar soundboards. The soundboards on acoustics are generally made of tightly grained spruce. Naturally yellow in color, spruce is a lightwood that has a very high degree of resonance, so it is a perfect match for acoustic guitars.

Solid Spruce
Solid spruce refers less to a difference in the wood than to how it is actually cut for the guitar. Laminate spruce soundboards are built as layers of cross-grained wood glued to each other. Solid spruce soundboards consist of one piece of wood running all the way through. This gives the guitar a richer sound because the solid wood soundboard can vibrate more freely and thoroughly.

Canadian Sitka Spruce
is a harder to find, more expensive variety of spruce. It has a light yellow color and is also used for acoustic guitar soundboards. It gives guitars a bigger more resonant sound, flush with crisp highs. It also improves with age more than other types of spruce.

German Spruce
This increasingly rare wood has a higher weight to strength ratio than Sitka and correspondingly complements the brightness and clarity of the guitars.

Maple
Maple is a strong and extremely dense, heavy wood. It is excellent for guitar necks and bodies because it can handle an inordinate amount of string tension. Maple has a bright and crisp tone and is used on flamenco guitars as well as some electrics. It has a wide variety of exotic grains that show up quite well when finished. Flamed maple is a very popular and brilliant looking exotic type of maple. "Flamed" refers to the rippling, or curls of the grain of wood that run across the body. Flamed maple in generally "book matched," which means that the body is made of two half pieces of a single cut piece of maple. This gives the guitar even weight, look and tone throughout the body.

Cedar
Many companies use Cedar or some type of redwood specifically for finger style instruments as it responds quickly and with good volume to a light attack. It is also very well suited to open or lowered tension tunings as they require the same qualities for good separation and definition. Cedar does lose tonal integrity when over driven, making it a poor choice for versatility but an excellent top wood for showcasing finger styles.

Brazilian Rosewood
Highly sought after by generations of luthiers and players for its unmatched beauty. Brazilian helps to impart warmth and darkness to the tone of the guitar. Tonal differences between Brazilian and Indian Rosewoods are subtle and consideration should be based on aesthetics, rarity, future value, and collectibility.

East Indian Rosewood
Like Brazilian, Indian Rosewood keeps the guitar at the warm dark end of the tonal spectrum. While not as visually striking as Brazilian, Indian Rosewood has an elegant appearance and should not be considered inferior to Brazilian on any account. Just the same we never ever use it !!!!   For fingerboards we use ebony, pau ferro or at very least Madagascar rosewood which is much more stunning than the plain old Indian rosewood.

Nato
Nato wood, also known as Eastern Mahogany, is a reliable, strong wood used on low cost guitar necks. It is a value-priced wood used more for beginner instruments. However, it still embodies some of the properties of more commonly used mahogany. While we would never use this wood on one of our custom guitars, We do carry several low end $100.00 & $200.00 guitars that are made from it.


JET Guitars are not cheap  they usually run from $4,500.00 to $9,000.00
But They Are Worth Every Penny


 

A piece of wood like above can cost well over $4,000.00


 
These Photos From The PRS Factory

You are looking at a CNC machine

Computer Numerically Controlled

 

 

All of the delicate cutting operations are done by $85,000.00 machine. All of the shaping, sanding, binding & fitting is robotically accomplished. There are no human hands, no human eyes to line up the wood perfectly so that imperfections in the wood fall into locations that won't be seen later.

There is nothing illegal about building a guitar with a machine.  I feel, it's totally unethical and immoral to charge the extremely high hand made prices. just because you made your original reputation by building handmade guitars.

Most every large company is guilty of this, I can think of very few large companies who still actually handbuild their guitars.

BC Rich USA,  Jackson Custom Shop, & maybe the PRS private stock guitars are semi hand built. These are all I can think of, off the top of my head.  I repeat, There is nothing wrong with CNC made guitars except that they are usually overpriced and under built. They generally lack a certain vibe, soul or character that can only be achieved from a hand built guitar. Not everyone can necessarily benefit from these detailed characteristics, So that's why a custom made hand built guitar isn't for everyone.  I always recommend a mid priced machine made Fender, Jackson, Dean, OLP, Hamer, or  Ibanez for a beginner or for the working musician who needs a good low cost guitar.  A custom made guitar is not for everyone. When and if, you finally decide to get a custom made instrument, you cross the threshold between good & great. Today a machine made guitar is considered a tool and a handmade one is potentially an heirloom or an investment guitar.

The worst offenders that I can think of is ESP, Lakland, Gibson & Taylor.  Many people assume that these companies are hand building.  The ESP guitars are totally machine made in Asia and priced incredibly high. The Lakland guitars offer a USA made and an Asian made model, Both are so unbelievably overpriced that It should be a crime. Gibson guitars are well known for being overpriced by everyone, I feel that their machine made guitars are overpriced so much that even if they were handmade they are still incredibly overpriced.  In the case of Taylor, they are also machine made and if you pay attention to their ridiculous image based advertising campaign you might think they were handmade. NOT!!!!!!

PRS on the other hand has publicly stated that they are %100 machine made. (Kudos For Honesty) Up until a couple of years ago they actually used to be proud of it, They even boasted about it. Today the consumer isn't as stupid as they used to be, thanks to people who print these little exposé's on their websites. Today PRS doesn't call too much attention to it and in their last catalog they show numerous photos of craftsmen actually carving guitars. I presume those guitars are their private stock models, I know they are not the models you will see when you walk into a big box store or corporate superstore.

Tom Anderson says he builds three guitars a day, that may be %100 true. Or is this just a clever way to possibly make the consumer think they are handmade. Because Tom has CNC machinery and if he wanted to he could produce many more guitars a day.

This whole article was prompted by a customer who attempted to trade in a plain black blah looking Sadowsky NYC Bass earlier today. 

I offered the customer what I considered to be a very generous trade in, I actually offered him way too much by my standard, $2,000.00 because I had heard that these basses were pretty good.

When he told me he wanted $3,500.00 for the bass I was appalled. This instrument is made from parts & constructed almost exactly like a Fender. The customer went on to tell me that the electronics were amazing. I played the bass, I had to agree the electronics were great. However I know that once an electronic circuit is designed you can copy it exactly for less than $10.00 each. I also like the way the bass played & felt. I just could not wrap myself around the price.

I did about 15 minutes of research and I was able to determine who builds the bodies, necks, bridge, tuners & pickups.  My own production made machine made low end "Lowrider" model bass can be bought brand new for about $2,700.00 cheaper. Coincidentally the components are all exactly the same.  (With exception of his proprietary electronic circuit)

Now I'm not claiming my bass is better, I'm not claiming anything. I'm just trying to make a point about overpricing... (You No Longer Get What You Pay For !!! & That's A Cold Hard Fact)

We have in our inventory  at least 2 Fender Basses with Sadowsky's $250.00 electronics built in should we charge $250.00 more or should we charge $2,500.00 more  (Think about it)

Ed Roman


 More Deprogramming From Ed Roman
Please read what I have written below with an open mind 

There Are 2 Major Cliché's That Are No Longer True In The Guitar Business

1. You Get What You Pay For!!!!

It's painfully obvious to me or to anyone who is not intellectually challenged that today many large corporations use this tired old cliché to their financial advantage. They are constantly pricing guitars at extremely high prices, so that consumers will think they are actually handmade well built instruments.

I first learned this fact back in 1991, I was employed by Gibson Guitars. The president of Gibson, Henry Juszkiewicz made this statement to me. "The higher the price the better the guitar" "or at least that will be the customers perception". 

This may have backfired a little on him, due to the fact that this artificial perception, that a production made guitar has to be so expensive, has made it possible for custom builders like, Myself, JET, Gledura, Jaros, Benedetto, McPherson, Dingwall, & Alembic to flourish. Simply because most intelligent people, would rather have a custom guitar. Especially if they could buy it for the same price or less than a machine made production instrument.

2. It's Just Too Good To Be True!!!!

That's another Bulls&%t Cliché, The Man & all the large corporations want to instill in your mind.  (Don't you believe that for even one second !!!!!!!!)

A tribe isn't a tribe unless it has one Chief & many Indians. 
The Chief is nothing without Indians!!

The question you must ask yourself your whole life is "Am I A Chief,  Or Am I An Indian"

The Indian will believe the old "It's too good to be true" adage and go back to smoking his peace pipe. The Chief will just go for it. There lies the inherent difference.

Some people play original music, They are known as innovators, Some people play only cover tunes, In Vegas they are known as Lounge Bands.

Now that doesn't make these people bad people, But it doesn't make them Chief's either !!!!
Hell, I like to play cover music myself, I do it for fun !!!

Ed Roman
06/17/05

Monkey See Monkey Do
The monkey will play the same guitar as all the other monkeys will !!!!


  
Many exotic tone woods are subject to ultra small & microscopic cracks in the wood.
We cannot guarantee against this happening because we use so many varied species
It is usually entirely unnecessary to repair anyway & almost invisible to the human eye.
 

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